To keep your brand’s social media presence strong, you need to feed it a steady supply of great content every day.
But, coming up with that content doesn’t have to be a major production number.
You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically. This approach can both save you time and energy and ensure that you continue to do a bang-up job meeting your audience’s needs.
No need to break out the lab coat to get started. To do some content cloning, you just need to follow these simple tips…
1. Coax new content out of your existing assets.
Some of your preexisting content may naturally lend itself to being source material for new pieces of content. Start by auditing what you have on hand and look for natural points for editorial evolution. Ask yourself, “Could this topic be more fully explored in a different form?” or “Could a different approach tell our brand’s story in a more compelling way?”
Use your analysis, and the answers to your questions, as the jumping off point for creating new content. For example:
- Sales sheets are natural source material for video tutorials. (Just explain the points on the sheet, but in front of a camera, with a story or two to illustrate them.)
- Client/customer testimonials are natural source material for Q&A blog posts. (Just contact some of those quotable folks and ask them questions to get them to expand upon their original thoughts.)
- FAQs on your site are natural source material for Facebook Fan Page posts. (If these are questions your clients/customers naturally have, use them as a jumping off point for real-time troubleshooting or service.)
2. Put your content in a different context/perspective.
If a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, (use your site/social analytics or crowdsourcing within your social channels to identify which pieces these are) try exploring these same topics in new pieces of content, but from a different vantage point or within a different context.
For example, let’s say you’re an organic food co-op that wrote a popular blog post called “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales.” Your topics in follow-up posts, videos, podcasts, etc. could be…
- “Organic Grocers’ Picks for Top Sales Trends” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of grocers.)
- “Shoppers’ Top Picks in Organic Groceries” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of shoppers.)
- “Top 10 Emerging Trends in Organic Grocery Sales” (Expanding the context of the original topic — what’s on top — to also cover what trends are waiting in the wings.)
- “How Organic Grocery Trends Influence Organic Farming.” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of a different industry.)
3. Drill down or spiral off on your content themes.
Similarly, if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.
Using the example above, let’s say your “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales” blog post identified organic skin care product sales as one of the top trends. Your drill down sub-topics in follow-up posts, videos, podcasts, etc. could be…
- “Why Organic Over Commercial for Your Skin Care?” (This new focus enables you to now explore the strengths of the products you stock in your store.)
- “Why Buy Skin Care Products in A Grocery Store?” (This new focus now enables you to describe how you showcase products in your store — such as allowing for testing, samples, etc. — giving a shopper an experience they can’t get online.)
- “How Does [Name] Co-Op Choose Skin Care Lines? (This new focus now enables you to educate your audience on your store’s rigorous product vetting process.)
- “Customer Picks For Top Skin Care Products” (This new focus now enables you to reinforce your customer-centric approach to business and showcase testimonials, which can then become additional Q&A posts — see #1.)
4. Approach your content from an opposing vantage point.
Similarly, you could take a popular piece of your preexisting content, and propose a counter argument against it to more fully explore the topic. By moving beyond editorial approaches that are safe and conventional, and holding up a mirror to the good AND bad in your industry, you can help to establish authenticity for your brand.
For example, let’s say that some responses on your “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales” blog post are from people arguing that organic skin care products are a rip off. Counter argue (or simply acknowledge) those comments in an original piece of follow-up content or perhaps even invite one of the counter-arguers to write the content for you. For example:
- “Organic Skin Care Products vs. Commercial: What’s the Difference?” (Acknowledging that they both have pluses and minuses.)
- “Top 5 Most Reputable Organic Skin Care Companies” (Acknowledging that finding a good company takes vetting – which is where your store comes in.)
- “Buyer Beware: Things to Look Out For on Skin Care Labels” (Giving your customers the tools to make wise buying choices in your store and in other stores, too.)
5. Identify and explore macro trends or theories.
Social media moves incredibly fast. If your brand is consistently active, it will not be too difficult to amass a large library of posts and conversational exchanges, (in addition to long form, more labor-intensive pieces of content, such as blog posts, videos, etc.) in a short period of time.
When you’re looking to do some cloning and expand your content offerings, go back and read through these old posts and look for trends in what you’ve said and what people have said to you in return. (You’d be surprised how few brands do this.) Then develop new content in response. For example:
- Is your brand continually walking around some topics (e.g. ethics, legal issues) because they make you nervous, in spite of the fact that your audience keeps asking you questions about them? Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and tackle those topics head on in a way that makes you feel safe.
- Are some of your brand’s older posts, in retrospect, way off base? Maybe revisit those topics and publicly take yourself to task. Admitting that you’ve made a wrong call can show your audience that, not only are you humble, but also flexible and unafraid of changing your mind.
- Are there any big insights that jump out at you after reading over six months or a year’s worth of your brand’s posts? (Essentially, “What can you learn from auditing your own brain?”) Maybe write a “year in review” post to share your ah-ha moments (these posts also give you a chance to link back to your old stuff and spread some SEO love.)
There you have it…five different ways to create dozens of new pieces of content from a few pieces of source material. All you need is an eye for detail, an imaginative mind and some good editing skills.
So, fire up your lab equipment, social scientists. It’s time to start cloning.
How do you clone your content? Please leave a comment below!